Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
T3 is not just a rare example of a worthy sequel to a sequel, it's a rare example of a worthy summer movie, one that does its job above and beyond the fast-food call of duty.
If Rise of the Machines never feels as essential as the first two movies, it doesn't feel like a rip-off, either.
A taut, exciting science-fiction thriller that pumps up our adrenaline without forgetting to engage our heads.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines tells the simple yet compelling story of a very old piece of equipment that refuses to go away. Its name is Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, as famously promised, he's back, and at his anticharismatic best, too.
Los Angeles Times:
An expertly paced and efficient sci-fi thrill machine, 'T3' effectively marries impressive action sequences with persuasive storytelling and its star's uniquely appealing style of 'No' drama -- as in no reaction, no expression, no emotion of any kind.
J. R. Jones,
A sizable quotient of the movie's target audience just wants to see stuff destroyed, and in that regard Rise of the Machines won't disappoint.
In style and texture, this $170 million film lies between the gritty look of the first Terminator and the slick extravagance of the second.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
Some purists and major cult fans of the first two films may miss Cameron's directing style, but Machines has a much better script then the first two.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines achieves neither the cult tang of the original nor the spectacular melding of FX to a gripping story that T2 did so well.
Dallas Morning News:
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has plot holes wide enough to drive a tank through. The filmmakers obviously feel that most viewers will be too busy watching the onscreen artillery to notice. They are probably right.
Here is the first movie of its kind in many moons that doesn't have to labor, Hulk- or Charlie's Angels-style, over convincing you of how entertaining it is.
T3 is so petrified by its predecessors' conventions that it moves a little like the Terminator himself, with monstrous rigidity and stiff-legged deliberation.
Terminator 3 is the summer movie of 2003 that hard-core action fans have been awaiting.
Essentially one long chase and fight, punctuated by comic, campy or simplistic dialogue.
This film feels closer to the medium-tech appeal of Cameron and Hurd's original 1984 Terminator, albeit at approximately 30 times its budget, than to the baroque excesses of T2.
The villain comes back more times than Wile E. Coyote. I found it tiresome and witless and numbingly repetitive, but action mavens won't feel cheated.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
T3 director Jonathan Mostow delivers a high-energy barrage of special effects gee-wizardry that self-effacingly mimics Cameron's style.
T3 is easily the funniest of the three films, no small achievement when you have Ah-nold playing a cyborg who cracks wise like Joe Clark at a celebrity roast.
Schwarzenegger still looks spectacular, but the script is short on deadpan zingers, and his heart doesn't seem in it.